By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
Established in 1986, the Texas County Health Department has provided a variety of programs made available for residents of all ages, infants to the elderly and to the community as a whole. Those at the clinic follow mandated guidelines and do so with a personal touch; they are our community working with our community.
“People who need help, need it right now,” said Angel Wells, RN, Administrator, who oversees and participates in all the department programs, health fairs and community events.
Wells became administrator in August 2021, after the retirement of Jackie Smith, who had been with the department since its establishment. Wells has been with the department as a registered nurse since 2005.
When you walk in the door at the Texas County Health Department you are greeted by Jen Russell, with a smiling face and a friendly greeting. This alone can go a long way when you’re seeking health care, information for better health, or are in a crisis.
Donna Wallace, WIC Coordinator, has worked with the program for 24 years and recently assumed the coordinator position when Cheryl Nelson announced her retirement after 34-plus years. Wallace supervises the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program.
“Cheryl and I have had the privilege of watching literally generations come through this program. These are the kind of relationships built over the years that I believe make this program thrive here in Texas County, trust that has been built for decades. The program itself is extremely helpful in the day to day food choices of the families that we serve,” said Wallace.
The Missouri WIC program provides supplemental food, health care referrals, nutrition education, and breastfeeding promotion and support to eligible pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to the age of five-years.
Also with the WIC program, in addition to other clinic responsibilities, are Trish Allen, RN, and Miranda Coen, Clinic RN, and Coens’ infant son, Barrett, who helps when obliged.
Megan Carver is Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, WIC Clerk, overseer of board-approved finance, Facebook Coordinator, and assists at location sights.
The Texas County Health Department has been serving the Licking area providing local enrollment and maintenance of WIC benefits for 34 years. Currently services are provided in Licking and Plato once a month. The main office provides for Houston with approximately eight clinic days per month, and a location in Cabool is available every Wednesday. Clinic dates and locations are posted via a public calendar on their website.
Johnna Cook, Nursing Supervisor, works communicable disease investigations, and oversees adult and children’s vaccines and maternal child health that includes dental for moms and kids.
Cook and Earlene Stoops provide Maternal Child Health Services, working in clinic, at fairs, events and in schools.
Photos by Christy Porter
Stoops enjoys her position as Health Educator, provided by Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and Child Care Health Consultation (CCHC) grants. She teaches age appropriate nutrition, sun safety, general health, positive behavioral activities and animal safety, as well as oral health to pre-schools, daycares and second graders in Texas County. An average of 375 preschool students and 220 second graders enjoy the classes, with happy songs, fun demonstrations and take-home packets.
Jill Garrett is a recent addition as the Community Navigator. Garrett provides a wealth of resources and guidance for all ages, and for the communities’ well-being. In her position she keeps all resources up-to-date and available to the public.
Kevin Durden is the Environmental Protection Health Specialist. Durden does environmental inspections of county food establishments and providers including schools, daycare centers, grocery stores, lodging establishments, and does private water well testing. He issues sewage system permits and does environmental complaint follow-ups.
Major emergency supplies for area communities are stored in the Bio-Terrorism Room at the facility. The department is also prepared to assist citizens with basic medical triage, temporary shelter and support, including for weather related incidents. Emergency management equipment is also available. There is a training room available for community use.
The Texas County Health Department issues Missouri birth and death certificate applications and voter registration applications, and offers referrals for special needs and services, and health and emergency preparedness information individually or to groups, this in addition to offering select immunizations and injections, lab services, screenings and testing.
The five seat board is currently comprised of Board Chair C.J. Smith, of Houston, who has been with the board since its inception, Vice Chair Jim Hagler, of Licking, Secretary Ed Williamson, of Houston, Treasurer Madeleine Miller, of Cabool and board member Kirby Holmes, of Cabool.
The Community Resource Center, located in close proximity to the health department, hosts recovery meetings, vocational rehabilitation, counseling and resource information. Narcon is also available with educational support. “We strive to get people the resources to battle addiction,” they say. Because they care.
“It is all about community well-being and positive community service,” Wells emphasizes in conclusion.
The Texas County Health Department is a non-profit organization and is located at 950 N. Hwy. 63, Houston, MO 65483. Most programs and services are no cost. They are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and may be reached at 417-967-4131; WIC line: 417-967-4269; fax: 417-967-5700 or on the Website: www.texascountyhealth.org.